NBA insider Marc Stein has had a busy few weeks keeping up with the heavy trade traffic across the league. Chicago has been no stranger to trade allegations throughout their roster, with no player more mentioned than Andre Drummond. The former All-Star and dozen-year veteran center is in the last year of a very cheap contract and has seen a resurgence over the past six weeks. When Nikola Vucevic was sidelined due to injury, Drummond’s stock instantly skyrocketed. The league was put on notice after posting a 24-point, 25-rebound game in his first contest with over 20 minutes of floor time. He averaged 17 rebounds and 14 points per game through the next seven and returned to his typical bench role upon Vucevic’s return. In the meantime, several playoff suitors have picked up the phone with interest in the rebounding savant.
Finding Joel Embiid’s Replacement
After what some saw as a rushed return to action to meet the required 65-game threshold to qualify for the NBA’s regular season awards, Joel Embiid was twisted up and reinjured against the Golden State Warriors a week ago. After exiting the game early, it was later confirmed that he had a left meniscus injury and has since undergone surgery that will sideline him for at least four weeks.
With their best player and the league’s MVP out for the most crucial stretch of the regular season, Adrian Wojnarowski, among other NBA insiders, believes that Philadelphia will be on the prowl for some fresh legs in the front court. Drummond’s recent showings of tenacious rebounding and inside finishing, combined with his cheap price tag and expiring contract, could make him a prime candidate to fill that void for the next few months.
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Drummond’s Price Tag And Starting A Bidding War
The 76ers are not the only contending team who could use some help in the size department. The Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, and Phoenix Suns have all been mentioned as teams inquiring about Chicago’s reserve big man. All three teams struggle rebounding and must counter the size and depth of the defending Western Conference Champions, the Denver Nuggets. Drummond’s league lead in rebounds per 36 minutes and his 6’11”, 280-pound frame make him a force on the inside.
Since Drummond would only be a rental for the remainder of the 2023-24 campaign, his price tag is relatively low. Several second-round picks or a flyer on an underdeveloped young player could be all it takes to lure him out of Chicago. The best-case scenario for the Bulls is that several playoff teams contend with one another for the big man’s services.
His size and strength off the bench would be sorely missed by the Bulls, who’d likely run more small ball sets and give players like Julian Phillips or Patrick Williams more opportunities in the center spot. If they plan on making a run at the Play-In Tournament, losing Drummond’s rebounding and size would be a significant blow.
Peaking at a Play-In Tournament berth, is it time for Chicago to revert to asset collection mode and ship off the expiring contracts of Drummond and DeMar DeRozan? They each have a handful of suitors that will fork up future draft capital to help aid a postseason push.